Getting to know Dr. Melanie Hopwood Simpson, C’86
Dr. Melanie Hopwood Simpson graduated from the KCKCC Nursing Program in 1986 with an Associate of Arts in Nursing. Dr. Simpson has Bachelor’s Degrees in both Nursing and Human Relations, a Master’s degree in Health Services with a focus in Community Health and a Doctoral Degree in Health Administration. She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Nursing.
She is the Team Coordinator for the Pain Management Resource Team at The University of Kansas Hospital. It is a nurse-run, inpatient, pain management consult service. In this position, she consults on all types of pain management issues including acute, post-operative and persistent/chronic pain syndromes. She has worked in pain management full-time for over 23 years, starting as Nurse Coordinator for Cancer Pain Management and moving inpatient to begin the Pain Management Resource Team in 2001. Dr. Simpson is nationally certified in Pain Management, Oncology, Hospice, and Palliative Nursing and is a Certified Pain Educator.
What led you to attend KCKCC?
I had been transferred to Kansas City with a job and I was no longer happy in the position. Some of the people who came into the place I worked were in nursing school at KCKCC and could not say enough great things about it. I had thought of going to nursing school a few years earlier, but the time was not right. I investigated KCKCC and another community college in the area and I found that KCKCC had a significantly higher passage rate of the state boards, so I quit my current job, acquired a new job as a waitress, so I had flexible hours for school and never looked back.
What was your next move after completing classes at KCKCC?
I started a nursing position in oncology nursing at a local hospital at a good salary with great benefits and kicked off a long nursing career that I am grateful for every day.
How has KCKCC Impacted your career and/or life?
Attending KCKCC completely changed the trajectory of my life. I was able to work and go to school and graduate without any debt (I wish I would have known about the scholarships available). Nursing has offered me so many wonderful opportunities over the years. I tell anyone who will listen, that community college is the way to go, tremendous return on investment.
Did you have a favorite class or professor at KCKCC?
Anatomy – I can’t remember my instructor’s name, but she was wonderful! She knew how important that class would be to us in the years to come and she made sure we were prepared.
If you are or ever have donated to or volunteered for KCKCC, why do feel it is important to give back?
My husband and I feel our education has shaped our life and provided a great lifestyle, so we want to share that opportunity with others.
What advice would you give to current KCKCC students?
Enjoy every minute of it and please take it seriously.
Why do you feel schools like KCKCC (Community Colleges) are important?
They provide an excellent educational foundation to start your career or to continue it.
What do you hope for the future of KCKCC?
I hope that KCKCC will get the recognition it deserves as a leader in the region for providing outstanding education for students of all ages.